Mothering through Islam: narratives of religious identity in London

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Ryan, Louise ; Vacchelli, Elena (2013)
  • Publisher: Utrecht University
  • Subject:
    mesheuropmc: humanities

This paper draws upon research with mothers of diverse Muslim backgrounds in London to explore how these women use ‘conservative’ interpretations of Islamic beliefs and practices to underpin their parenting strategies. In particular the paper looks at how mothers use religion as a frame to make sense of and give meaning to their experiences and encounters in Britain. We suggest that the women use Islam in four key ways: (i) as a framework for teaching their children right and wrong, (ii) as a means of protecting children from the ‘moral’ dangers of British society, (iii) as an authoritative voice that reinforces parenting, and (iv) as a means of critiquing specific aspects of both the traditional and British culture in which they live and daily negotiate their different cultural and religious belonging. In attempting to instil religious values in their London-based children, these mothers have to negotiate the hostility that Islam increasingly provokes in British society’s public arenas.
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